Relative major/minor

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Definition

Each major key has a relative minor which shares the same key signature. If we picked a major key, such as C Major for example, to find its relative minor key we would move down three semitones, which would take us to A Minor.

The keys of C major and A minor share the same key signature (no sharps or flats)


The opposite is also true, if we were in a minor key and wanted to modulate (change key) to the relative major, we would move up three semitones. For example, if we were in E minor, an upwards movement of three semitones would take us to G Major.

The keys of G major and E minor share the same key signature (one sharp)


Examples

The diagram below is called the 'Circle of 5ths', and it shows each major key with its relative minor and their shared key signature.

Circle of 5ths


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